White Seabass and Tuna
During San Quintin Trips
GOOD BAJA RUNS DESPITE A COUPLE OF MINOR MISHAPS
SAN QUINTIN, B.C., MEXICO, RICHARD HOLLO, SEPT. 10, 2009 --We’ve had a couple of great Baja trips down to San Quintin over the past two weekends with a mixed bag of not so great situations that turned out for the better.
My son and I left home for San Quintin around 2:00 p.m. on August 27th and we made good time across the border and down Highway Mex 1 to San Vicente.
Just before we got into San Vicente, my son noticed sparks coming from the right trailer hub and we pulled over. The outer wheel bearing was gone, literally. I jacked up the trailer and the wheel simply fell off! How it managed to remain in place through the twists and turns of Highway Mexico 1, I have no clue. I had checked my hubs in Ensenada when we filled up with gas and did not notice anything out of the norm. Of course, I have a spare hub sitting at home on the shelf waiting to get rebuilt, with the intention of carrying a spare.
We got the wheel off and left the trailer on the side of the road while we ran into San Vicente to find parts or to call home to get a spare on the way. We found a small auto parts shop and surprisingly, he was open. We had to run back to the boat to get the opposite hub off so we could get part numbers and when we got back, he was closed but he had instructed me to hit the horn a few times and he would come out. Sure enough, after a few minutes the lights in the store came on and Senior Tony was at the door waiting for us.
He checked the part numbers but did not have the bearings. He suggested we drive to another parts shop that he thought might still be open.
To my amazement, the lights were on and the owner was in the yard. We gave him the part numbers and actually had a set! He asked for 180 pesos. I was happy to cough up an American $20 for the convenience and the help. I also gave Senior Tony $20 for his troubles and his excellent assistance.
I was expecting the worst, but we found the boat and trailer intact and I began punching out races and polishing spindles.
I have to admit that I was worried about being stranded on the side of Baja's Highway Mex 1 in the middle of the night. Every time a car would drive by I would cringe. Two cars stopped and I tensed up, expecting the worst, but it was merely a few muchachos stopping to see if they could help. It made me feel good. We were treated with nothing but kindness and concern.
We were back on the road at 2:40 a.m.
We got to San Quintin at 5:00 in the morning, just in time to load up the boat.
Abel from Pedro’s Pangas dropped us in the water at 5:30 a.m.
We waited about 10 or 15 minutes until the light started to build and then we headed out of Bahia de San Quintin. We found massive schools of sardines a couple of miles in from the mouth of the bay and we had no problem filling the tank with sardines and mini mackerel. We got out of the mouth of the bay and headed the boat south.
We headed south to Socorro in search of big calico bass. The calicos were stacked up thick on the high spots. We immediately started boating fish. With my first 4 drops with a Salas 6X in blue mackerel pattern I pulled up 4 different fish species. We quickly limited on calico bass to 8 pounds and then decided to head offshore in search of yellowfin tuna.
We took a 270-degree heading out to 12 miles off the Baja shore but did not get above 65 degrees of water temperature, and the water started getting snotty.
We put out a couple of feathers in hopes of finding a stray albacore or yellowtail, but gave up on the struggle around 1:00 p.m. and headed for the bay.
When we got back into the dock, Abel pulled us out of the water and I started hearing about white seabass.
It had been a good day just outside of the mouth and that would be our game plan for Saturday.
We were back up at 4:30 the next morning. We hit the water early and made bait with no trouble and hit the white seabass grounds.
I had spoken to Captain Hector the night before and he advised me to slow troll Krocodiles and mackerel at 2.5 to 3.5 m.p.h. through the bird flocks. We started trolling the deep side of the bait schools moving slowly to the south.
Captain Oscar Catian was on a hot streak. His anglers were boating big white seabass on a consistent basis. We made a turn towards an isolated pocket of birds and as we approached them, one of the rods went off and it seemed like I had hooked onto another boat. By the time I got the boat out of gear and got to the rod, my 200 foot monofilament top shot was gone and the spectra was peeling off the reel. I pulled the rod out of the holder and kicked the drag up a couple of clicks. The rod loaded up to the handle and the line began to sing through the water. The big bass ran another 10 or 15 yards of line off and then suddenly slowed and I started gaining line on him. He came to the boat surprisingly quickly and I hooked him just behind the head.
He was a big fish, but I didn’t realize how big until I tried to haul him up over the side of the boat and had to brace my feet and use my body weight to leverage him up over the side. He hit the bottom of the boat with a heavy thump and I got to appreciate his full size.
This white seabass was over 4 feet long and 50 pounds!
When we got back to the San Quintin ramp, we learned that the fish had really taken off later in the morning. Oscar's group boated 7 of the big white seabass and a heavy yellowtail, but we also talked to guys who didn’t catch a fish so and I was very happy to have my one big whitey and a bucket full of chunky frying fish.